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The Next Generation of Healthcare Pioneers

Building local talent to support Abu Dhabi’s world-class healthcare services



In just four years since inception, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has established itself as a leading medical facility offering world-class services, including complex, first-in-the-region surgeries. In 2017, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was officially designated and licensed by Abu Dhabi Department of Health as a research and teaching facility, as part of its strategic plan to become a pioneering academic medical center in the region.

Central to the hospital’s mission is training local talent. It has a robust career development framework available to UAE nationals at all stages in their careers. In addition to job specific training, the hospital offers UAE nationals a personalized development plan, individual career path, access to its healthcare leadership academy, administrative fellowships, and a graduate trainee program.

One of these is the Wateen Graduate Trainee Program, which offers graduate UAE Nationals the opportunity to take their first step in pursuing clinical and non-clinical careers. This structured learning experience aims to attract, develop and retain UAE talent, as part of the hospital’s plans to develop a highly skilled and sustainable healthcare workforce.

The name ‘Wateen’ is Arabic for aorta, the main vessel of the heart, which reflects the central role of UAE talent at the heart of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The program typically runs for 12 months, with a four-part framework to cover all essential aspects of the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for a successful career in healthcare.

Upon successful completion of the one year course, participants who meet all program requirements take on their target, professional-level roles as caregivers.

In November 2018 the program graduated its first cohort of 20 trainees pursuing clinical careers in nursing, dietetics, laboratory work, physical therapy, imaging and social work. Other graduate trainees specialized in non-clinical roles in human capital, information technology and operations. A much larger second cohort of 48 caregivers are set to graduate in January-February 2020.

In the accompanying video, hear from some of the graduates as they share their feedback on the value of the training as a stepping stone for a successful career.

By the end of 2018, around 19 per cent of caregivers were Emiratis, in roles ranging from clinical staff to nursing, digital marketing, and finance. That percentage is set to rise significantly when the second batch of graduates and Train-For-Work candidates join Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi next January-February.

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